In 1742 Arthur Middleton was born on his family’s estate near Charleston. His father, the owner of numerous plantations, was an exceptionally wealthy and powerful man. Middleton received his education in London where he graduated from Cambridge University and later studied law. He came back to South Carolina in 1763 and went on to serve as a justice of the peace and a colonial legislator.
Middleton left to travel in Europe in 1768, but he became involved in the revolutionary cause upon his return in 1771. He soon gained the reputation as an extremist. He served on the first and second provincial assemblies, helped in the organization of a night raid on public arms stores, and encouraged the tarring and feathering of Loyalists.
He was chosen in 1776 to replace his conservative father at the Continental Congress. In 1778 he was offered the governorship of South Carolina, but he turned it down since he was unhappy with the the state legislature’s approved constitution. Due to British threats on his estate between 1779 and 1770, Middleton was unable to be present at the Continental Congress. In 1780 he was captured by the while serving on the militia, and was kept prisoner in St. Augustine, Florida until July of 1781.
Upon his release he returned to the Congress and served until 1782. A year later he retired to his plantation, but continued to be somewhat involved with the legislature. In 1787, at the age of forty-four, he passed away. He was buried at Middleton Place.